NGA Executive Conference and Public Policy Summit Offers Future-Forward Agenda

August 31, 2023

Daily Beast columnist Matt K. Lewis among speakers at high-level gathering of independent grocery executives 

Washington D.C. – A forward-looking education agenda driven by top industry leaders is the centerpiece of this year’s National Grocers Association Executive Conference and Public Policy Summit, the annual gathering of executives from the independent grocery industry.

The summit, scheduled for Oct. 22-25, 2023, at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., offers retail, wholesale and supplier executives and their leadership teams a chance to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace through in-depth forecasts on the future of the industry, outlooks of emerging economic and business trends, and opportunities to strengthen relationships with trading partners throughout the supply chain.

Registration is available here:

This year’s summit sessions will explore how best to prepare for what the future holds for technology, marketing, policy and key store departments as well as the state of the independent grocery industry. The summit pairs high-impact education and networking with the unique opportunity to meet with federal representatives who craft policies affecting your business.

Leading the roster of speakers are some of the top leaders and voices in the grocery industry. Opening the summit and setting the tone for the coming days will be Scott Moses, partner and head of grocery, pharmacy and restaurants at Solomon Partners, moderating a panel that includes North State Grocery Executive Director Richie Morgan, Affiliated Foods President/CEO Randy Arceneaux, Wakefern Food Corp. Chief Customer Officer Steve Henig and Econo Health Path Markets CEO Enid Barillas, discussing the State of the Independent Grocer, exploring the current economic, regulatory and customer-first landscape and how well operators are positioned for the future.

The agenda also includes Coborn’s VP of Marketing Dennis Host, Merchants Distributors Inc. EVP of Sales and Merchandising Nick Carlino, Alliance Retail Group CEO Jena Sowers and A-R Marketing Principal Eric Anderson exploring the Future of Marketing; KraftHeinz Head of Strategic Planning and Industry Stacy Cobb, Clorox Director of Trade and Industry Relations Bob Richardson, and Topco VP of Center Store Category Management and Insights Katie Waeltz on the Future of Center Store; UNFI Senior VP of Produce Dorn Wenninger, Newport Avenue Market President/CEO Lauren Redman and BrightFarms Chief Commercial Officer Abby Prior on the Future of Fresh; and AWG incoming President and CEO Dan Funk, URM Stores President/CEO Ray Sprinkle, KeHE VP of Regional Chain Sales Shellie Wood and Certco President/CEO Amy Niemetscheck on the Future of Grocery Distribution.

Additionally, NGA SVP of Government Relations Chris Jones will explore the Future of Retail Policy; Shawn Stevens, founder of the Food Industry Council, will discuss the Future of Food Safety Regulation and Litigation; and Ferrara leads a panel discussion that includes UNFI COO Erin Horvath, Weis Markets COO Kurt Schertle and Tim Lowe, president of Lowes Foods, on the Future of Retail Leadership.

“This high-level gathering of industry leaders not only offers a deep dive into the trends driving your industry but an exploration of the issues surrounding the policy that sets the rules for how you operate,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “If you’re an owner, operator, CEO, senior leader, or a supplier or service provider to independent grocers, the Executive Conference and Public Policy Summit is for you.”

Rounding out the lineup will be sessions on the economy, talent, technology, positioning and nutrition policy; breakouts on deli, dairy, bakery and emerging brands; plus a B2B program as well as plenty of networking time to make new connections, refresh old ones and share the common bond of independent grocery operators.

Additionally, Tuesday’s luncheon keynote speaker will be Matt K. Lewis, a senior columnist for the Daily Beast and author of the book Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots). A center-right critic of American politics and pop culture, Lewis has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, PBS NewsHour, ABC’s Nightline, CBS News’ Face the Nation, and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and has contributed to radio outlets including NPR and the BBC.

Conference participants will have the option of attending the NGA Foundation fundraiser on Tuesday evening, Oct. 24, “Mini-Golf, Major Impact.” Attendees can embrace their competitive spirit at D.C.’s most unique indoor mini-golf course and play a round while networking and enjoying heavy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Tickets will benefit the NGA Foundation and its work in industry promotion, student programs, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and technical assistance.

Additionally, the WGA Emerging Female Leader (EFL) share group and Executive Female Leaders (EXFL) Network meetings are co-located with the Executive Conference & Public Policy Summit. EFL will meet Oct. 24-25 and EXFL will meet immediately following ECPPS starting Oct. 25 through midday Oct. 27. Visit these pages for information on how to attend EFL and EXFL.

For registration, speaker updates and more information, please visit


About NGA

Washington, D.C.-based NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is accountable for about 1.2 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating more than $250 billion in sales, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages and $36 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers located in every congressional district across the country, as well as state grocers’ associations, manufacturers and service suppliers. For more information about NGA, visit